The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is seeking public input on proposed changes that would make more NWT residents eligible for Supplementary Health Benefits under the GNWT Supplementary Health Benefits Policy.
Two programs are currently administered under the policy: the Specified Illnesses Program is for eligible residents with one of several identified illnesses, and the Seniors Supplementary Health Benefits Program is for those aged 60 years and over. This new initiative does not include any changes to the NWT Supplementary Health Care Program for Seniors, which provides comprehensive coverage for eligible prescription drugs, eyeglasses, dental services, supplies and equipment. medical and medical travel.
The specified disease program is currently being revised. It provides prescription drug benefits and, in some cases, medical travel benefits to residents diagnosed with certain identified illnesses. The intent of the proposed changes is to provide NWT residents who have limited financial means access to a range of benefits like those offered by other insurance programs.
Proposed policy changes include the introduction of a new Supplemental Health Benefits program for things like dental services and eyeglasses, and a new drug benefits program. Eligibility for both programs would be based on a person’s ability to pay. Qualifying individuals and families would require income testing. Those who earn below a specified annual income and have no other insurance would automatically qualify for health and drug benefits.
Supplementary health insurance policy has seen little change over the past 34 years. As a publicly funded program, it currently falls short of fairness and equity goals because there are financial barriers for some residents that limit their access to important drug treatments and preventative services that help maintain good health. Under current policy, an estimated 2,200 NWT residents do not have access to any benefits like those available to most residents through employer or government insurance plans.
Existing benefits for Indigenous residents under the federal NIHB (First Nations and Inuit Non-Insured Health Benefits) program and the GNWT Métis Health Benefits program are not part of this discussion.
Before making changes to the policy, the GNWT wants residents to review the current policy, review the proposed changes and provide feedback.
Residents are encouraged to review the proposed changes to the extended health benefits policy and to participate in a survey.
The survey can be viewed online at https://haveyoursay.nwt-tno.ca/extended-health-benefits until October 14, 2022.
- This review does not include any changes to the NWT Seniors Extended Health Benefits Program.
- Existing benefits for Indigenous residents under the federal NIHB program and the GNWT Métis Health Benefits program are not part of this discussion.
- One of the proposed changes is to determine a person’s eligibility for additional health benefits based on their annual income. The low income cutoff could be the poverty line, as established by Statistics Canada. For most parts of the Northwest Territories, this represents $32,601 in annual income.
- When determining a family’s eligibility for supplementary health and drug benefits under the proposed new policy, each dependent child would add $9,451 to the basic low-income threshold.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Ministry of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
(867) 767-9052 ext. 49034